Our History

In the late 1960’s and early 70’s Catholic Church officials determined they should combine several smaller parishioners into one central parish. In June 1972 ground was broken on land donated by Alfred Linnebur and Dick Bate families in Byers for Our Lady of the Plains (OLP) to be built. The 10,000 square foot building was made to seat 400 people, with a large community hall connected to the church. Harry Smith of Byers was the general contractor for the church, and our church and rectory was built by its parishioners…every cinder block was lovingly laid by someone we know, right down to the alter furniture made by Albert Elpers. Parishioners attended the ceremony for the laying of the cornerstone on September 16, 1972 officiated by Bishop George Evans from the Archdiocese of Denver. Some of the items placed in the small round container in the stone were the front pages of the Catholic Register, the Tri County Tribune and Eastern Colorado News, a list of those who had contributed to and started the new church, and pieces of information about our small mission churches in Strasburg and Deer Trail (St. Gertrude’s and St. Joseph’s) that served us since 1915. Our church and hall were completed in December 1972 and dedication was in May 1973 led by Archbishop James Casey. OLP had a visiting priest from St. Pius X Catholic Church in Aurora officiating Sunday masses, weddings, baptisms and funerals in the years before our first resident pastor. Father Andrew Gottschalk was assigned to us in 1978. Fr. “Andy” lived in the upstairs apartments of the Stagecoach Steakhouse until the Emmett Linnebur family donated property for the rectory to be built. The rectory was completed in 1980 and includes a living area and OLP office upstairs with class and meeting rooms downstairs. Our parish has been home to many priests who have nourished our souls and kept us a community of faithful members. Father Andrew Gottschalk was our first resident pastor, he was with us from 1978-1991. The Parish Hall was named after him in 2008. Father Thomas Dona followed and served us from 1991-2001. Deacon Bill Sober (wife Lynn), our only Deacon, served with Fr. Andy and Fr. Tom. Monsignor Edward Madden resided from 2001-2005 and Monsignor Michael Chamberlain followed from 2005-2010. Father Jeff Wilborn arrived in 2010 and after six years as Pastor he was reassigned in June 2016. Fr. John Green arrived in July 2016 and continues the vision of the future for Our Lady of The Plains. Some of the major upgrades and renovations on the inside of the church since 2000 were the removal of the stone on the back of the alter, new carpet, pews for the choir, a new sound system and two keyboards, creation of the Quiet Room, repainting of the inside of the church and around the statue of the Blessed  Virgin Mary. In 2011 renovations were in full swing, including the placement of six stained glass windows and new Stations of the Cross. In 44 years Our Lady of the Plains parish has grown to 238 families from areas including Watkins, Bennett, Strasburg. Byers, Deer Trail and Agate.